This morning was a bit slow, it started with interviews and filming some general scenery, but that quickly gave way to some crazy antics. One of the challenges that we are trying to figure out, is whether or not a large creature could travel from the sea to the Loch and back again. That would make it a lot easier for the myth to be real, as the ocean provides a huge abundance of food that the Loch is lacking. However, there are two ways from the Loch to the ocean and they both present considerable obstacles. The canal, while deep enough for a creature to pass through, was built in the 19th century and has a series of locks along its length that open and close to regulate the water level and allow boats through. Unless it was timed perfectly, any creature would essentially be blocked from passage. The river Ness on the other hand is very shallow, only a few feet deep at best, and it too has several weirs or shallow dams that cross it, also making passage difficult, even in the best of times. Water does flow over the weirs though, so our job today was to take a jet boat and see if we could also â€˜jumpâ€™ the weir.
Safety was our number one priority and we suited up in drysuits, heavy gloves, helmets and a very robust lifejacket. After a safety briefing, Alan, the boat captain, and I jumped onto the small jetboat and cruised up the river to the weir. Piece of cake I thought, as I scanned the seemingly small rush of water as it cascaded over the rocks. Yeah right, it looked small from far away but once we got there it started to dawn on me that this was no joke. As we approached the weir, the roar of rushing water filled my ears and Alan and I looked at each other with a kind of what the hell are we doing here look. The fear was not just falling in the water and getting smashed against the rocks, that we could handleâ€¦maybe. The real problem was that if a thousand pounds of boat were to turn parallel to the dam it could easily get flipped over on top of us, knocking us out or pinning us under the water which would very likely result in serious injury or deathâ€¦seeing as how neither of us found the idea of serious injury or death appealing on a sunny Sunday afternoon, we decided to take it slow.
We kept back from the weir for a good fifteen minutes, eyeing our odds, and the best approach. Then, with a roar of the motor we attacked and Alan pushed all the way down on the throttle and with a crash and a crunch we threw ourselves over the first set of boulders, right up to the base of the weir. Water came thundering over the bow of the small craft and my heart was racing. I have done plenty of whitewater rafting and canoeing before, but if you fall out of a rubber raft and it hits you in the head itâ€™s probably not the end of the world, if I got tossed out of this vessel and it hit me in the headâ€¦wellâ€¦ lights out sucker.
Holding tight to the rope on the side of the boat, I braced myself as the boat lurched to the left and crashed into a huge rock. A quick glance over at Alan confirmed my suspicion; this was not a good situation. But he knew what he was doing and promptly threw the boat into reverse, the engine roared once again and we were suddenly free. I relaxed my clenched fists and took a deep breath. From that moment on we avoided that part of the weir and decided that this was probably not possible. Even on full power, the boat wasnâ€™t even able to make it even partially over the final wall of water. A few more soft attempts and we gave up.
We returned to shore and, exhausted, and slightly disappointed, climbed out of the boat. The director was thrilled and pointed out that a failure was still a result. If we couldnâ€™t get over the weir, it is unlikely that in this low water any kind of monster could either, at least not without crawling over the rocks, at which point it would most certainly be seen by passing boats, hikers or cars of which there are many along the river and the road beside it. After all the excitement, we packed up the gear and headed back to shore. A few more interviews and one piece to camera later we had wrapped for the day. It was 8PM by this time and everyone was ready for a tall pint or two and a good meal and we got one at a local pub. All told, it was a good day, as my father always said, â€œadventure is where you lead a full lifeâ€ and today was definitely one hell of an adventure.